Kids To The Country
425 Farm Road #3 Summertown TN 38483
ph and fx: 931-964-4391 [email protected]
INVITATION Kids To The Country Winter Program 2014
You are cordially invited to join us Friday, December 19, 2014 for the Kids To The Country Holiday Gift-making Workshop and pre-Kwanzaa celebration at the Spruce Street Baptist Church, 405 Spruce Street in Nashville. This location is just off Charlotte at 20th and we have Darlene Fowler-Stephen, former director of the Sister Program, to thank for this opportunity. The event will run from 12:00 noon until 3:45 pm and lunch will be provided. Please come and bring lots of kids!
Come make gifts with the children and celebrate the spirit of the season with all the kids and the dedicated program staff.
The Kids To The Country Winter Program consists of a Holiday Gift-making Workshop and pre-Kwanzaa Celebration to be held Friday, December 19, 2014. We are grateful to have the opportunity to reconnect with the children and enable them to become givers themselves at holiday time by making their own presents. It is great fun to see the kids leave with these big bags of hand-made gifts for their loved-ones. The second part of the program is a pre-Kwanzaa celebration that awakens the children to their personal talents and good principles to live by all year around. We anticipate a big thank you to WHOLE FOODS in Nashville for providing the fruit for the ceremony and for the kids to take home. Sizwe Herring will provide the content for the celebration from the work “Sustainable Kwanzaa” by the late Gwynelle Dismukes. We know this is a very valuable experience for all those who participate. KTC is grateful to Whole Foods for providing the Kwanzaa fruit! See you all soon!
RSVP to Mary Ellen Bowen
931-209-8119 (c), Sizwe Herring 615-300-2941 (c) or [email protected]
Dear Friends of Plenty,
You’ve probably heard by now that Plenty’s founder and mentor, Stephen Gaskin passed away on July first of this year, right before our annual Plenty Board meeting. He hadn’t been directly involved with Plenty over the past few years but, without his original inspiration and vision, Plenty would not have been born. I first met him in 1968 in a church basement in San Francisco where he was holding meetings with a couple of hundred hippies on Thursday nights. Over the course of the following year these meetings grew to about 1,500 and they filled a local rock and roll hall, the Family Dog, on Monday Nights. Stephen would sit on a low wooden platform, talking without a microphone and lead a conversation related to the things we were all thinking about in those days like spirit and energy, war and peace and what could we young hippies do in a country and a world that we believed desperately needed some kind of spiritual awakening. We viewed Monday Night Class as the Continental Congress for the Second American Revolution, a revolution that would be nonviolent and motivated by love, but a real revolution in the sense that we wanted to live very differently based on our discoveries of who we were and what it means to be human. Of course, the late sixties and early seventies were traumatic times with the ever-present specter of an insane war in Vietnam and the assassinations of icons like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Then came the shooting of four students at Kent State by the National Guard on May 4, 1970. That was on a Monday and that night, when we were gathered in the Family Dog as usual, the voices for arming ourselves and taking it to the streets were especially loud and insistent. It truly felt like the country was on the brink of a generational civil war and Stephen played a pivotal role as a voice for peace, pointing out that, in the first place, we couldn’t win a shooting war and, most importantly, our revolution would be rendered worse than meaningless, just another sorry chapter in the immensely stupid and self-destructive cycle of violence that seemed to have forever plagued our species.
On October 12 of that year, about 200 of us headed out across America with Stephen who had been invited on a speaking tour at universities and churches and community centers and town halls. We had moved into school buses fitted out with beds and kitchens and wood stoves. The first gig was in Minneapolis. We went to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Nashville, Boulder, CO and dozens of cities and towns in between, finally ending up back in San Francisco with the understanding that it was time to put our money where our mouth was.
The first step was to make a community where we could live together. We decided to head to Tennessee, to get away from the political noise on both coasts and where we might be able to afford land. We got lucky and found a thousand acre farm for $70/acre. In the beginning we were just learning how to farm and feed ourselves and deliver babies and deal with no running water and no electricity. We were very poor but we still felt like we had more than enough to be able to share. Because we had always been committed to effecting change in the world, the next natural step was to start Plenty. Through these early years of the Farm and Plenty, when we were pretty green and wet behind the ears and learning how to get along with each other (by 1974 when we founded Plenty there were about 600 of us) Stephen was an essential guide and I don’t think we could have made it without him. The rest is history and we actually have a book in the works (“The Roots of Plenty”) that will be out before year-end. On top of that, the Farm and Plenty are on display in the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville as part of an Intentional Communities of Tennessee exhibit until the end of November. Imagine that.
I’d like to sign off with love and a big thank you to Stephen for his courage, vision and perseverance. I want to make a special plea for our friends and colleagues, Bisi and Mahmoud Iderabdullah who manage Imani House International, which has a clinic that’s on the front lines of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. Two of their staff have died from the disease. They need all the help we can give them. The new Bulletin is full of stories of people who inspire. They’re all on the front lines of the global campaign to make things better, to find and create solutions and to take care of others. They deserve our help.
With thanks to you from all of us at Plenty,
To view the Fall/Winter 2014 Plenty Bulletin simply click this link:
Pine Ridge Statistics
• Unemployment rate of 80-90%
• Per capita income of $4,000
• 8 Times the United States rate of diabetes
• 5 Times the United States rate of cervical cancer
• Twice the rate of heart disease
• 8 Times the United States rate of Tuberculosis
• Alcoholism rate estimated as high as 80%
• 1 in 4 infants born with fetal alcohol syndrome or effects
• Suicide rate more than twice the national rate
• Teen suicide rate 4 times the national rate
• Infant mortality is three times the national rate
• Life expectancy on Pine Ridge is the lowest in the United States and the 2nd lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Only Haiti has a lower rate.
Plenty would like to support a project to winterize the homes of some of the elderly and disabled residents of Pine Ridge. We estimate that a budget of $1,800 would pay to add insulation and plastic around windows and doors and related small repairs for 20-25 houses. Houses on the reservation tend to be overcrowded and decrepit. Winters are especially harsh. A budget for 20-25 homes would include $500 for materials and supplies along with $300 for gas to get to the homes and $1,000 as stipends for the men doing the work. $1,800 total.
On October 4, 2014 Plenty’s Books To Kids project distributed hundreds of children’s books in Native Communities along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. Since 2007, Books To Kids has given away more than 150,000 children’s books in communities recovering from disasters and poverty from the Gulf Coast to Appalachia to metropolitan New York.
Plenty has started a gofundme campaign to help support the Imani House clinic in Liberia as it deals with the Ebola virus. 100% of any donation goes to Imani House. Here’s the link to the campaign http://www.gofundme.com/eu5s2w
Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines with massive force. Relief efforts are needed on a massive, long-term scale. Plenty is being asked to help the village of Alta Vista on the island of Leyte, which is home to about 1,500 people. Every house in the area lost their roof and/or sustained other damage. Alta Vista Elementary School, with 280 students and the preschool/daycare with 45 students, lost its roof, desks, books and supplies. Other schools in the area are in similar shape and need help.
DONATIONS ARE NEEDED NOW TO AID THESE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
We will aid as many schools as we can, depending upon the amount of donations we receive.
Dear Friends of Plenty,
It was 40 years ago this spring that Stephen Gaskin stood up in the middle of 500 or so of us young hippies gathered in a meadow in southern Tennessee to meditate and watch the sun rise. He talked about the “idea” of Plenty. The idea was that as we built our community, we should also be reaching out to be of help to other people in the world who might not be as lucky as we felt we were. We immediately agreed that it was an idea worth pursuing.
Over its history Plenty has fielded dozens of projects in some 20 countries, including the US. What’s impressive about these numbers is not the numbers themselves but that a tiny-budget, small-staff organization like Plenty could reach that far. That reach is attributable, at least in part, to the fact that Plenty, like so many small nonprofits, is less of an individual NGO than a strand in an ever-widening web of like-minded, committed people who reinforce, replicate, and expand upon each other’s efforts.
Just in time for Earth Day, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued its latest report. It basically says we don’t have any more time to delay the drastic changes that nations, industries, communities and individuals need to make in order to effectively reduce atmospheric CO2 to tolerable levels, levels that have been rising “almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century as they did in the last decade of the 20th century.” The Chairman of the Panel is quoted as saying, “We cannot afford to lose another decade.” The report included some good news such as the costs of renewable energy options like wind and solar are falling fast and the panel says it detects “a growing political interest in tackling the problem.” (We can detect a bit of eye rolling among US readers about that “growing political interest” but we can stay hopeful.)
We hope you enjoy the new Plenty Bulletin, which contains all the Plenty news we were able to fit with as many photos as we could squeeze in. Because we’re only printing two of these a year now (a total of eight pages) and there’s so much more going on than we can include please go to our website and Facebook pages for updates and expanded versions of the Bulletins. Also, we’ve tried to make it easy for folks to donate on the Plenty International website.
I want to wrap up this letter by saying how grateful I am personally to have been involved with Plenty over these four decades. It’s been a constant privilege. When, as young hippies, we declared that we were “out to save the world,” we didn’t think we could do it alone or in a generation. We can’t even say things are much better than when we started and some things, like climate change, are worse. However, it’s apparent that our children’s and grandchildren’s generations have a better awareness of the big problems and the tools that are needed to fix them than we did at the same age. There’s much to do and lots of us gray-haired flower children are still around to help.
With love and appreciation,
Thanks to everyone who donated to help the village school at Alta Vista, which was hit hard by Typhoon Haiyan. The superstorm struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, killing more than 6,000 people and destroying the homes of 15 million more.
At the Alta Vista village school all school papers were lost to water damage in the typhoon and the students needed writing tablets and notebooks for lessons. Your donations via Plenty bought school supplies for the 285 children and 48 kids at the day care. Each student received a notebook and 2 writing tablets, a pen or pencil, an eraser and a pencil sharpener. In total 285 notebooks, 530 notepads, 165 pencils, 120 pens, 165 erasers, 165 sharpeners, plus 50 boxes of crayons and 50 boxes of colored chalk for the daycare were provided. School is over at the end of March, and our friends there told us “this elementary is now set”. Small gestures mean a lot. Thanks for your help.